Download our Petland App today for information on your local Petland's Available Pets and Pet Supplies. All at the tips of your fingers!

Petland Logo

Please create a free account, or login by clicking here.

Why Socializing Your New Puppy Is Important

May 25, 2020

Man’s Best Friend:  Why Socializing Your New Puppy is So Important, and When and How to Get Started       

From the first moment that man and dog befriended one another until today, that relationship has long moved beyond that of man and pet—our dogs are now undeniably beloved members of the family.  Worldwide there are at least 900 million canis lupis familiaris (dogs) and at least 80 million of them live in America alone.  Approximately 48% of all American families include at least one canine member today.

Socialization of Your Puppy

Behavioral issues such as fear, avoidance, and even aggression are issues that can be easily avoided through a process called “puppy socialization”. Not only is socialization one of the most important things that a human will do for his furry friend, but it can also easily be one of the most enjoyable, rewarding things as well, frequently with the added benefit of strengthening the bond between a human and the newest member of the family!  

One of the most critical steps in any puppy’s development, socialization is key to ensuring that your new best friend will not only be happy, but friendly, confident, and well-adjusted throughout their lifetimes by introducing them to life in a human’s world.  Proper socialization means introducing the puppy to different types of people, environments, scents, sights, smells, sounds, other animals, and even other dogs!  This kind of socialization will ensure a happy, well-adjusted companion that acclimates quickly and easily to new situations.  At its most basic, socialization simply means that you are introducing your new best friend in a positive, safe way to all of the sights and sounds that are likely to be a part of their world. 

When To Start Socializing Your Puppy

Between around three and twelve weeks of age, puppies are more curious and accepting of new things, and should not yet show signs of aggression or fear.  Before twelve weeks, puppies are still at an impressionable stage and are more likely to absorb their new experiences instead of hiding from them or reacting aggressively.  By eight weeks, it is important to introduce as many people as possible in order to prevent fear or shyness later in life.  Puppies do not begin to become wary and cautious of who and what is in their world until around twelve to eighteen weeks, at which time they may begin to show signs of aggression.  

While timing is an important factor in the socialization process, it is also to remember some other key factors.  Patience is a very important part of the process, and it is always the dog who will set the pace.  Socialization is a process, and it will take time, patience, and repetition.  Exposure to something new is not the same thing as socialization to something new, and mistaking the two will lead to a poorly socialized dog who is likely to develop behavioral issues later in life.  

Notice Your Puppy’s Body Language

Your dog should walk away from any new experience feeling positive about it, and wanting to do it again.  It’s also important to remember that it is only your dog who can make the determination if an experience is positive or not, and a great indicator of this is to keep an eye on their body language.  Loose, wiggly body language is a good indicator that your puppy is having a positive experience.  

If you do not see body language that indicates that your dog is having a positive experience, now is the time to move on until another day or time. Make sure that you continue to work on positive reinforcement, even when you have to move away from a particular experience. This will ensure that your puppy continues to trust you as you go through the socialization process.

Finally, remember never to force an interaction.  Again, body language is key.  If your dog does not want to experience or interact with something at a given moment, that’s okay. Move on and try again another time.  Forcing interactions will only cause fear and anxiety in whatever you are attempting to socialize your dog to at the moment.

Continue To Keep It Fun

Socialization can look and seem like an overwhelming, daunting process, but it shouldn’t be, for you or your puppy.  It should be an easy, fun process that allows the two of you time to bond just as much as it allows your puppy to get to know the world around him!  

If you have never socialized a puppy before, there are numerous checklists online that break the process down into small, simple steps in order to help cut down on the anxiety for both of you.

If you’re feeling anxious about socializing your puppy, you can always seek out a professional trainer at your local pet store or even your local doggy daycare. They can help both you and your puppy traverse those obstacles so you both are feeling comfortable. Make it a fun and enjoyable experience for both of you, and at the end of the process you’ll not only have a well adjusted and happy pet, but you will also have established a strong bond between the two of you!

Good luck and have fun!

Related Articles

View All Articles

  • Miniature American Shepherd Facts You May Not Know

    Miniature American Shepherd Facts You May Not Know

    The Miniature American Shepherd is a fascinating breed with a rich history and distinct characteristics. Here are some lesser-known facts about this breed that might pique your ...

    Read This Blog

  • More People Are Switching to The Dog Harness

    More People Are Switching to The Dog Harness

    What Is a Dog Harness? A dog harness is a type of equipment designed to secure and control a dog during walks or other activities. Unlike traditional collars, which put pressure...

    Read This Blog

  • The Remarkable Acoustic Abilities of Dogs

    The Remarkable Acoustic Abilities of Dogs

    Dogs possess an extraordinary sense of hearing, which allows them to detect and interpret sounds far beyond human capabilities. Their acute auditory system is finely tuned to pe...

    Read This Blog

  • What Are Service Dogs?

    What Are Service Dogs?

    Service dogs are well-trained professional dogs that help to those who need them. Each service dog has a specific set of skills that require training and testing to master. Serv...

    Read This Blog

  • First Time Dog Owners Should Consider These Breeds

    First Time Dog Owners Should Consider These Breeds

    Are you considering adding a fur-legged friend to your family? If so, this blog is for you. We have handpicked our Top-5 dog breeds based on their personality, temperament, and ...

    Read This Blog

  • 2024’s Top-25 Coolest Names for Dogs

    2024’s Top-25 Coolest Names for Dogs

    Choosing a name for your new furry friend is an exciting and important decision. It sets the tone for their identity and becomes a part of their everyday life. With so many opti...

    Read This Blog

  • Best Ways to Keep Your Dog Warm in The Winter

    Best Ways to Keep Your Dog Warm in The Winter

    With winter here, it is important to take extra care of our furry friends. Dogs, just like humans, can be susceptible to the cold weather and may require additional measures to ...

    Read This Blog

  • Benefits of Crate Training a Dog

    Benefits of Crate Training a Dog

    Crate training is a popular method used by dog owners to train their furry friends. It involves using a crate or kennel as a safe and comfortable space for the dog to rest, slee...

    Read This Blog

  • How To Treat a Dog’s Bleeding Nail Bed

    How To Treat a Dog’s Bleeding Nail Bed

    Dogs are known for their playful and active nature, which often leads to accidents and injuries. One common injury that dog owners may encounter is a bleeding nail bed. A bleedi...

    Read This Blog

  • The Longest Living Breeds of Dog and Ways to Ensure a Longer Life

    The Longest Living Breeds of Dog and Ways to Ensure a Longer Life

    The average life expectancy of a dog varies based on several things. Keeping a proper diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and routine veterinarian wellness checks are all very i...

    Read This Blog

  • Top Halloween Costumes for Dogs

    Top Halloween Costumes for Dogs

    Halloween is a time of year when people get to dress up in creative and fun costumes, but it’s not just humans who can get in on the fun. Dogs can also join in the Hallowe...

    Read This Blog

  • The BIGGEST Dogs

    The BIGGEST Dogs

    Despite their intimidating appearance, larger dog breeds are generally well-tempered, caring, and friendly animals! Throughout history, many of these dogs have been relied on fo...

    Read This Blog

Help Need Help?